( dpa ) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday visited Taj Mahal unaccompanied by girlfriend Carla Bruni contrary to speculation in the Indian media as India celebrated its 59th Republic Day with Sarkozy as the guest of honour.
After attending Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, Sarkozy flew into Agra city where the Taj is located accompanied by a French delegation, the PTI news agency reported.
"Bruni's absence on the trip to the Taj brought to an end to intense media speculation that she could, despite not being part of the touring delegation, make an appearance to be with Sarkozy as he visited the 17th century Mughal monument," the report said.
Earlier in New Delhi, the French leader joined India's first woman president, Pratibha Patil near the Presidential Palace amidst tight security arrangements to view a military parade.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari and a number of dignitaries and diplomats along with the chiefs of the Indian armed forces were also present at the parade, the main attraction of the national celebrations.
Singh had held wide-ranging talks with Sarkozy on Friday to give a "fresh impetus" to the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Soon after the talks, India and France announced that they had concluded negotiations on a civilian nuclear deal and inked five pacts in areas of defence, science and nuclear research.
The defence forces showcased their latest military armament and put up a show of airpower as the frontline Sukhoi-30 combat jets zipped across Delhi skies.
On display during the parade were the indigenous T-90 battle tanks, BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles developed jointly with Russia and the nuclear-capable Agni missiles.
Upgraded 155 mm artillery guns, along with Dhanush missiles and the long-range Smerch rocket system were also displayed.
Large numbers of people from Delhi and neighbouring areas witnessed the parade that culminated at the 17th century Mughal monument of Red Fort.
In a speech ahead of Republic Day, Patil said that although India was recording high growth, the benefits were not percolating to the economically-weaker sections.
The Indian President called for strong measures to remove corruption and action to combat terrorism.
India celebrates January 26 every year as Republic Day to commemorate the day it adopted its constitution in 1950. The day is marked by flag hoisting ceremonies, military parades and cultural pageants across the country.
Authorities put in place massive ground-to-air security apparatus in the Indian capital following warnings by security agencies about possible strikes by terrorists.
Other Indian cities and towns particularly those in insurgency-hit northern Jammu and Kashmir state and the north-east were also on high-alert and carried out the celebrations under heavy security.
The French president is scheduled to conclude his two-day India tour after he attends a reception hosted by President Patil and meets with members of the French community later on Saturday.